Saturday, August 27, 2016

Soleil, so long

This is the post I should have put up last week, but I've just been dreading it.  I am disappointed to have to be doing this review, but now you can't believe anything other than I'm honest about all the books I read.

Soleil by Jacqueline Garlick

I was so stoked for this book.  "The Illumination Paradox" started as an incredible series.  The world was a new kind of apocalyptic dystopia. The diseases were unique with a slight touch of steampunk, and the characters had an air of disturbing that is just on the correct level of creepy.  I honestly felt like this series had something special to it.  I was eagerly awaiting the third book.  My super nerd reached critical mass when the author announced that book three would be in our hands on Harry Potter's birthday!

Then, Soleil published.  Then, my heart broke.  The first chapter was an editing nightmare.  I have learned from previous novels this does not get better, but I wanted the conclusion to the adventures of Eyelet and Urlick so I steamed ahead.  My heart broke a second time.  Not only was the text grammatically butchered, the flow had lost all it's spunk.  The story line had skipped into full throttle bull rush passed all the wit and sass that made this series start strong.  And then... Yes, and then, we literally fell down the rabbit hole.

Really? This wonderfully unique series had to fall down a flipping rabbit hole!  Don't get me wrong, I love Alice in Wonderland, but I really do not love the over abundance of authors using it as a crutch.  Write something original!  But, back to the review.  After we escape that hell, we are reintroduced to Eyelet and Urlick bumbling through their story.  The ending was something I had so looked forward to, and I was crushed.  I would have dedicated all that time in wonderland wannabe to Limpidious (the world you created author!), the world I wanted to know about because that was the unique story that brought be back to each book.

All right, that was brutal. Let's hit some positives. There were some truly emotional moments and a little bit of sap. I did not hate the book;  I was just truly disappointed.  Maybe writing one book a month is not a good goal to set yourself.  Soleil sadly paid the price for this ambition.  I kind of want my $3 back.  Maybe we'll get an updated copy some day that can at least redeem the plethora of grammatical errors.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Stan Lee makes a Chinese restaurant placemat

I have read several graphic novels and mangas at this point, and thoroughly enjoyed them, I thought it was time I attempted comics again.  You may remember I previously mentioned wanting to get into the nerd culture of comics as I am a fan so many other nerd cultures staples.  I dipped my toes in the manga market with series I was familiar with through anime; a pretty safe starting point.  Then, I received a couple of graphic novels from Netgalley, and they have been utterly fantastic in their stories -- even if the art wasn't my match.  This go around I requested something by a true, blue comic king -- Stan Lee.

The Zodiac Legacy #1 by Stuart Moore

Stan Lee created a new universe of comic characters with writer Stuart Moore.  They wanted an edgy Asian twist to their superheroes.  Each character has the power associated with an animal of the Chinese zodiac.  There are a series of books and a set of matching graphic novels.  I picked up the graphic novel from Netgalley. I like East meet West kind of literature.  Let's give is a shot.

My impression -- Captain Planet meets a fortune cookie.  The story line wasn't completely horrible, it was just super cheesy like Captain Planet. A group of random teenagers out to make the world a better place.  It just screams 90s cartoon.  Plus, the art kept my mind there too, bright colors and clothing styles all inspired by the era that put  fluorescent accents on everything.  The artwork was actually the piece I liked best about this novel.

Maybe that should be my indicator.  If I like the art style, I'm going to be in for a flop of a story.  The previous two graphic novels I've read have not been visually to my liking, but I really enjoyed the character development and plot.  Here the artwork plays to my nostalgic sensibilities, but the story liked any character depth.  All we learn about the gang our their powers.  Which don't get me wrong, they are super cool, but I want to know more about the characters.  Their individual stories just seemed to be lost but very important.

Honestly, if I need an Asian flair mixed in with my very Western mindset, I'll stick to my all time favorite Avatar: The Last Airbender.  This series really just did not engage me.  Now, other people may absolutely not feel the same way towards this series.  It might be right in the wheelhouse of what they are looking for in their East meets West agenda. To those, I say pick it up and try it out.  But maybe at your local library first.  The price tag is a little hefty for the risk of not enjoying this graphic novel.  To get more hyped up for the series, check out their website.

Monday, August 15, 2016

2-for-1 make up post

My, my. I've done it again. I've vanished for quite some time this time, but I promise I have a good reason. I got a job. A very cool job. A full-time copy editor job. This means my posts will become sporadic again as my time for reading becomes divided even further. I promise I'll make the reviews that do get posted count.

I also have been reading some non-fiction books that don't fit the review style I have built on this website. These books weren't about enjoying them or wanting to pick them up time and again. They were about learning and expanding. If you would be interested in the same kind of discovery, I'll give you some information and let you on your way.

Becoming Worldy Saints by Michael Wittmer

The first of the non-fiction books I read to help with some clarity. I find a strong pull to study the different religions of the world to understand where each side of the argument is coming from.  This piece highlighted some good points on Christianity. A worthwhile read for sure. The author wasn't preachy which could easily be over achieved in a religious text. The information was provided to guide you to your own conclusions.

I have some people in mind who need to read this. It was quick to get through and really left a lasting impression.

The Norse Shaman by Evelyn Rysdyk

I just ended up having too many personal issues with this book. I can't recommend it. Never will. 

But some information for those who may not be so inclined. It is a source book for shamanic journeys of the 21st century. There is some history sprinkled in there to instill an appreciation for such an old belief system and in-depth guidance on shamanic practices.

But I found the focus of the dissertation to be all wrong. I picked it up based on a description for learning how the old became the new. I ended up very disappointed and 25% unfinished.

Again, two non-fiction pieces I spent with the last month. I'm back on track to reading some light fiction and will have two good reviews for you hopefully this week, but don't hold it against me if I miss my deadline. I will get them posted before another month goes by as summer is winding down, and my mountain requires a lot less attention.